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Zurich vs Vienna

I know...2 different countries. I am flying from Croatia back to Canada next summer and instead of sitting in an airport in Frankfurt for hours on end I'm choosing to take an extended layover in either Vienna or Zurich. This way I can spend some hours exploring a new city. I'll have the afternoon and evening in either city...sleeping in a hotel and then flying out in the morning. I know it's not the ideal time frame for either but that's what I have to work with.

I would appreciate your thoughts on both cities and also what you would do if you only had a half day to explore.


Posted by
8889 posts

If you choose Zürich airport, don't stay in Zürich but rather in Luzern. 70 minutes by train from Zürich airport, two trains per hour.

See this 360° panorama:
The old town is to the right of the bridge, many hotels. The station is on the left of the bridge. Views of white-topped mountains across the lake, but you probably won't have time to go up one.

Posted by
53 posts

No comparison, in my humble opinion. Vienna is gorgeous, lots to do, great pedestrian area. Many concerts every evening. And then there is the coffee! To me, it is one of the major cities of Europe - right up there with Paris, London and Rome. Zürich is just a city that happens to be in a beautiful country.

Posted by
5837 posts

Train travel between Zurich Airport/Luzern is reliable and frequent. You can count on two trains an hour with one direct and the other with a transfer at the Zurich train station. And Swiss trails are reliaable (within a minute of schedule).

Luzern is very walkable. We had a hotel across the street from train station (but didn't hear any trains). Train station is a short walk to old town and the Lake Luzern boat dock. For a short visit Luzer is compact and walkable and you can hit the town's highlights and not feel too short changed.

I don't know Vienna but Austrian beer is good.

Posted by
28 posts

I was recently in Vienna and LOVED the city. COFFEE AND PASTRIES, if you like art, go to the palace, largest collection of Gustave Klimt. don't know about Zurich, will be there in april 2018 just for one night. i have read it's easy to stay in the city instead of near the airport. hope this helps!

Posted by
16726 posts

If you choose Vienna, choose a hotel close to the Wien Mitte station. I see several on Google maps, including Pension Stadtpark. The CAT train runs non-stop from this station tomthe airport every 30 minutes, taking 16 minutes for the journey.

From your hotel you just walk across the Stadtpark and you are in the historic center of Vienna. In summer there is food and free entertainment at the Rathausplatz:

Posted by
2023 posts

Vienna for sure--a wonderful city and very elegant. Get a travel book and see which sights appeal to you--plenty to see. We've been twice and want to return. I'm not a big fan of Zurich--and there are no alps in that part of Switzerland.